Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Army Sgt. Jacob Molina

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Jacob Molina, 27, of Houston,

Sgt Molina was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died July 19, 2011 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Staff Sgt. James M. Christen.

Sgt Molina attended Eastwood High School, where he started a rugby team. He later transferred to Houston Can! Academy, where he met his future wife, Stephanie.

Sgt Molina enlisted in the Army in February 2007. This was his second overseas combat tour. He had previously served in Iraq.

Sgt Molina was a big fan of mixed marshal arts and such an action movie fanatic that his mother, Janie Torres, nicknamed him Vin Diesel.

“He liked anything physical, full contact,” brother Javier, said.

His mother, Janie Torre, said her son had wanted to be in the military ever since becoming a teenager. She knew it was his destiny, but never expected he wouldn’t come back alive.

"He’s tough," said Janie. "And, I’ve always known Jacob to get out of everything, not this time."

Sgt Molina's uncle, Joe Campos Torres, was killed in one of the most notorious cases of police brutality in Houston's history.

Joe Campos Torres was wearing his Army fatigues and combat boots when Houston police arrested him after a bar disturbance in May 1977. He drowned after being severely beaten by officers and thrown into Buffalo Bayou. His body was found floating in the water a few days later.

Molina never met his uncle, a Vietnam veteran, but grew up hearing stories about him and looking at pictures of him in uniform. Relatives say Molina's decision to join the Army was motivated in part by his uncle's service.

The officers were convicted in state court of negligent homicide and received one year probation. Federal charges resulted in prison sentences of a year and a day for civil rights violations, and a decade of probation for conspiracy.

"There's no greater pain to a mom than losing one of your own," she said. "No matter what the circumstances are, the pain is still the same,"

“We came from a strong military family and he wanted to be part of something bigger than he was,” said Javier. “He wanted to make a difference.”

“It made him happy,” he said. “He enjoyed what he was doing and he told me he wouldn’t want it any other way. If he was going to go out, he wanted to go out doing what he loved.”

Javier last talked to his brother online the day before. Molina asked Javier about his plan to follow in his footsteps and join the Army after graduation. “He said it would be the best life choice to make,” said Javier.

The next day, Molina’s mother was hanging laundry in her backyard when Army officers came to the house. At first she thought they were recruiters who had dropped by to visit Javier.

“When he called me by my son’s last name, I knew,” said his mother, who goes by her maiden name. “I dropped everything and ran into the house.”

“I want people to know what he did for them, what he did for us,” she said. “That was his destiny, his passion. He was a hero to us when he was here and he was a hero when he was there."

When people tell Javier that he should reconsider enlisting, he says, “What I like to tell them is it makes more determined than ever."

“He always wanted to make sure I grew up strong and brave like him. He was everything I wanted to be. He was my hero.”

Army Sgt. Jacob Molina was killed in action on 7/19/11.

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